Stakeholder Consultation regarding proposed Literature Amendments to the Art & Culture Tax Allowance


On Fri, Feb 22 the Ministry of Culture sent out the following correspondence below to Stakeholders which is in response to lobbying by Caribbean Books Foundation in Trinidad for Writers to be included as Art and Cultural Allowance. This proposed Consultation is a huge step to revitalize our Literature Industry please take the time out to share your views at the Consultation.

The letter that was sent to request this initiative is available here to review:  letters.admendmenttoArtandCulture Allowance.Min.Culture from Caribbean Books Foundation

I will be sending in names by 7th March, if you have an interest in being apart of this let me know or you can contact the Ministry directly.

Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Founder

Caribbean Books Foundation


Good day,

The Artist Registry intends to embark on a pilot stakeholder consultation session regarding proposed amendments to the Art & Culture Tax Allowance. In order to do so we would like to have a diverse cross section of representatives from the literary community and as such we are asking for your suggestions on persons who should be contacted for the session to be held in March (further details to come). At this point we would like to put together an initial list of persons and different bodies to invite for meaningful discussion. This will be a working session and we hope to have some solid suggestions by the end of the exercise. 

If you can send us a preliminary list of names along with contact information of persons who you think would be vital to this process by Friday March 8th it would be much appreciated. Once the details are finalized we will work on sending out an invitation with the date, time and more details regarding the session to both you and the list of names provided.

Thank you for your time and we look forward to conducting this exercise with your assistance in the very near future.

The Secretariat
The National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers
JOBCO Building
51-55 Frederick Street
Port of Spain
Office Nos: 868.225.4023 ext 4058 / 4059 / 4061 / 4063




How to Write Best Selling Children’s Books

How to Write Best Selling Children’s Books

This was an interesting read, wanted to share. Taken from WikiHow edited by Lucas Halbert, Horses4Ever, Nicole Willson, Sondra C and 8 others

There are seven fundamental reasons that some books succeed and others collect dust on the author’s bookshelf. These seven keys to success as an author are simple, obvious even, and yet in the midst of our writing many of us forget them. We get so focused on the idea of the book that we forget the mechanics. Here is the strategy that award winning authors use:

  1. Create a hero that your audience can relate to
  2. Examine your target market honestly. Who will be reading your book? Just because you think that your main character is funny, charming and brilliant doesn’t mean your audience will. Write about what your audience cares about.
  3. Write for your audience, not your high school English professor. There has already been a Shakespeare. Most genres do not require you to write like him. You will just turn your audience off if you write at a level beyond their comprehension.
  4. Give your reader a problem that he or she can empathize with. For example are you writing for teenage girls? Then something to do with the pains of adolescent romance, or lack thereof, might be a good start.
  5. Provide a nemesis that makes sense. The antagonist in your story should appear to be everything that your main character is not. Then go back in and give him or her some good qualities as well.
  6. People are not good or evil. Your characters should have the same character traits, as the rest of humanity.
  7. Example: A Thief with a Conscience or who hates everyone except his little sister, who he has taken care of since their mom died.
  8. Give all your characters depth.
  9. Provide obstacles for your main characters. Both your hero and antagonist need to have a few bumps in the road. Life isn’t smooth. Let them both screw up and figure their way out of their messes.
  10. Your hero, at the very least, must learn a lesson about himself or herself. Is he braver than he thought he was? Is her nerdiness actually an asset?
  11. Your characters should have some type of self-realization. It can be subtle. You do not have to go into a five chapter monologue on it, just give the readers some clues that he or she has changed.
  12. Begin and end your story with a bang. Grab your reader’s attention in the beginning and have them hoping for a sequel in the end. The rest, no matter how much work you put into it, will probably be skimmed until they hit the next seat gripping scene. Your job is to make that skim time as short as possible.


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Book Review: Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini

Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini is the 2017 third place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature.

At just ninety pages, it is a quick but enlightening read about a fourteen year old girl’s struggle with mental illness. Kayla, a Trinidadian residing in Trinidad, is shipped to care of her aunt in Canada after a failed suicide attempt. Her aunt and her lesbian live-in partner welcome Kayla as their guest with an option to stay on a more permanent basis.

The sexuality of the couple is of no relevance to Kayla; they are stable and very supportive. Without reason, she is guilt-riddled about burdening the childless ladies especially because they were not obligated to accept such a huge responsibility. Kayla’s mother had always been ignorant and in denial about her condition hence sending her away. As a result, their mother-daughter relationship continued to be strained and dispassionate.

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Book Review: The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez

The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez is the 2017 winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature.

Thirteen year old Adela lives in the midst of a revolution in Cuba. She is not oblivious to the discord that is happening around her but as times go on more and more events are unexplained. First, a well-loved young lady goes missing, then Adela’s own cousin, Miguel survives a boom attack at the hotel where he works. However, nothing makes an impact as much as the devastation that unexpectedly hits her parent’s marriage. The family discovers that her father was having an affair with a prostitute. Before long that is the least of their problems.

Adela cannot forgive her father; she questions why her mother is tolerating him and his mistress. She focuses on solving another mystery with her brother and cousin Miguel and they are led to…

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Book Review: The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein

One of my favorites as well.

The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein is the 2017 second place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature.

An adventurous story about a girl’s choice to investigate the murder of her classmate, The Beast of Kukuyo follows Rune as she tracks clues and uncovers secrets.

Rune, a lover of the TV show Murder She Wrote, lives with her grandfather and alcoholic brother. She is an outcast at school except for her friend Tiki, a good looking boy who’s abusive father dislikes her. Tiki is her voice of reason; a voice she rarely obeys.

When Rune is mistakenly dubbed a thief while investigating a lead, her grandfather punishes her by making her work for a pig farmer. It takes her a while to relax with him. However, her discovery of a bag of teeth in his bedroom alleviates the pity she felt for him. She…

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Submit your novel …

Do you have a great fiction novel or manuscript, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18? Well did you know that the CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions are open,so you can submit.

This competition has proven to bring success, recognition and a publishing deal to a number of Caribbean writers. The CODE Burt Award has jumped started a number of writing careers, maybe next year you can be the winner. 

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature – see link below for guidelines.

2019 will be the 6th year for this YA Lit award! To date, over 37,000 copies of award-winning YA novels have been distributed throughout the Caribbean to young readers. This literary award and readership initiative recognize excellence in Caribbean-authored literature for young adults, ages 12 through 18. The NGC Bocas Lit Fest oversees the submission and adjudication process. The jury is composed of Caribbean writers, educators, and literature specialists, and this year a new addition a young adult reader (which is so exciting, as young readers get to say what they like to read, which can make a big difference in giving readers books they want to read and not just books adults think they want to read. This decision gives more value to the winning titles.)

Three English-language books/manuscripts created by Caribbean writers will be awarded a joint sum of ($14,000). The winning title is awarded $10,000, and the two finalists each receive $2,000. Local Caribbean publishers are granted a guaranteed purchase of a maximum of 2,500 copies. These copies are then distributed to youth in schools, libraries, and community centres across the region.

The CODE Burt Award is sponsored by the Literary Prizes Foundation based in Canada, CODE is an insightful organisation determined to showcase literature around the world from diverse cultures. You should visit their website at  and support every effort by becoming a financial or promotional partner, you will not regret it. You can support writers by supporting them. As little as $10 a month can help put CODE books into the hands of a child in rural communities, changing the child’s life story forever. See

Eligible manuscripts and books published between November 1, 2017, and October 31, 2018, must be submitted to the NGC Bocas Lit Fest no later than October 31, 2018.

Eligibility guidelines and submission forms are available as a pdf here and from Bocas Lit Fest:




Empty Arms: For the Seemingly Barren Woman

Months ago, the dynamic and resourceful “Ezzy” – Esbeth Callendar-Braithwaite reached out to me saying, “I will like to self-publish my book, how do i go about doing it?”

Her book Empty Arms: for the Seemingly Barren Woman, a real life account of the life -straddling thought process of a Caribbean woman and her husband who wished to adopt a baby and comes away with seemingly ’empty arms’ was a bold topic. After reading the book i realized that this request wasn’t just about publishing, Ezzy opened her soul as she wrote, which in no doubt helped her to heal, and now she wanted other women to know that they were not alone.

This book of faith, this labour of love, whatever you called it, was more than just words.

Self publishing is a complicated, crazy yet fulfilling road so i outlined everything and still she wasn’t deterred, so i jumped in. If she wanted to do it, then it would get done.

Initially, i worked on formatting and cover design, Esbeth already had a pretty good idea of what she wanted, from the type of image on the cover down to the fonts and colors so it was really about just listening to her vision and delivering it. By the end of the following month she had artwork in hand. It took a few more months for her to get everything lined up and soon enough she was emailing me asking me to send artwork to printers.

The book is already on kindle and is now part of Caribbean Book’s catalog – Check it out!Empty Arms

I congratulate Ezzy for her dedication, and look forward to seeing the book in print very soon.


“I will decide, who i will become.” and





Jordan (Fire On Montserrat series)

I recently completed a foreword for Jordan, the second book in the exciting Fire On Montserrat series. You can find the book here



“Books that tell Caribbean stories, are important because we see ourselves, our surroundings and our culture forever in print. As the Founder of Caribbean Books Foundation it is my honor to support authors like Catherine Dorsette as she carries that cultural flag in print and film.

In Fire on Montserrat the author weaved a story of young lovers, Kayla and Derek torn apart by a horrible natural disaster, and the unknowing loss of the family they were meant to start. Years later they meet again but their love is still strong which helps them to rekindle the fire quickly. This story was laid against the beauty of the island and delicious food but does not come with its own challenges as Kayla faces a jealously that nearly takes her life and Derek has to change his priorities and attitude not to lose the woman he loves, just when they have found out about their long lost son Jordan.

This new release focuses on Jordan and his true journey to manhood as Kayla and Derek’s saga continues. It is complicated, frustrating and trying at times as Jordan tries to reconcile his present reality of having a strong willed adopted mother and his past, where his biological parents want to be a part of his life.

Jordan’s biggest obstacle is the fact that his adopted mother is a loose canon and the ‘arch nemesis’ of his birth mother. Yes, ‘arch nemesis!’ Velda is a villain of villains who plots and destroys yet expects forgiveness and loyalty compulsively. Velda will test your sanity as you wonder how she survives with all the lies. You’ll be flabbergasted, and annoyed and wish for her demise but she is playing by different rules, with new characters who become allies in her madness.

You’ll feel excited, sad and afraid with Jordan as he has a hard choice to make but I believe that he will find his way before it is too late, as love enters his life just in time in the form of sweet Dr. Cass. I am sure this renewed sense of purpose and confidence will lead Jordan to find peace and success.

I look forward to the continuation of Kayla and Derek’s love story, Jordan’s journey to peace, and may I say the end of Velda’s reign (yes I do hope for this), in the grand finale of this trilogy.

I thank Catherine Dorsette for her courage to undertake such a great work in both print and film. She is indeed an ambassador for Montserrat and her dedication should be rewarded with your support. It is not easy to publish and pursue your craft but it is a much needed work, as the Caribbean becomes self aware and proud of what it is and what it has to offer.

I welcome you to read the series and follow the author for all updates.”



Home Home (A book review)

My first thought after reading this book is that nothing is better than a cute boy, the cutest boy you ever saw to produce serotonin to combat depression. It’s so simple it should be patented.

Home Home is a quick read, that addresses so many important issues. The most important is that it brings depression to the fore through the eyes of a teenager. It’s a glimpse into a world most of us do not know about and the sensory descriptions are excellent.

This book was equally wonderful and frustrating for me to read at times.

The book looks at homosexuality through the foreign lesbian aunt who is in a permanent relationship and takes on the care of her niece. It looks at migration as the book is set in Canada, Trinidad is portrayed as a backyard minded small island as opposed to the first country beliefs of Canada, for which I cringed, but I had to remind myself that it was from a bias teenage perspective. The book looks at parenting, bad parenting from a mother who never understands, but who understands enough to give up her role in difficult times despite her prejudices. I felt sad for the mother and daughter who were destined to never reconnect. The only two people in the book whom parenting seemed to come naturally to, are the ones who had no children. I read almost in horror the onset of a relationship for a boy whose mother has already influenced his dating preferences. The book takes a look at what depression does to families, friendships and relationship and it’s a vicious cycle.

Our protagonist lives in a reality one day at a time, that’s either too blissful or too sad. The chaos of the book poignantly depicts the affect of depression on a mind and lends itself to be placed among the few meaningful books on the subject matter.

Home Home

I received this book through Caribbean Books Foundation R2R initiative.

2017 Finalist Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature
When a depressed Trinidadian Teenager gets sent to Canada, she is helped to recover by her lesbian aunt, a gorgeous looking boy, and her best friend back home. Home, Home brilliantly describes the pain of mental illness and how loving families can come in unexpected shapes and sizes.
Publisher: Papillote Press

Do you have a great novel, creative non-fiction, or graphic novel for youth ages 12 to 18?

The CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature 2019 submissions is now open.

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest is now accepting submissions for consideration to the 2019 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. You can be the next winner.




Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Anna and Hayden’s family exhibition in honor of their son Johnathon Smith will continue until this Saturday at the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago in Federation Park.

It’s a must see.

There are so many beautiful pieces in so many different mediums in this exhibition. It is as diverse as the artists but blend well together to give you a complete wow! experience.

I have to seen water portrayed the way Jonathon painted it – it real life magic. Ann’a cooper “tree of life, is a work of art and Hayden’s bright and vivid work is captivating. It is worth the drive.

There are also copies of the book Transformation on sale.

Visit this week and be blown away.



The ocean is presented like never seen before.


An admirer of the tree of life…..